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November 27, 2013

Santa Photos Fundraiser for MSPCA; Crate Escape too & Charlestown! OK to Share Thanksgiving Feast with your Pup?

Santa photos and holiday hours 2013 (1)

Is It Safe for Dogs to Share Thanksgiving Feasts?

with help from: Dr. Eric Barchas, Dogster

Thanksgiving is many peoples’ favorite holiday. Most of the canine world love our selection of the holiday’s food. So, do we share??

The short answer, unless your dog has specific food allergies or intolerances, is yes and no. Many people have completely stopped giving their dogs table scraps and people food . That route is certainly the safest and healthiest. Having said that, our people brains want to share with our pets, so where is it necessary to draw the line?

Most staple Thanksgiving table items are safe for dogs to eat in moderation. But! it is not safe for dogs to indulge in excess the way we often do. In fact, dogs’ lack of moderation makes Thanksgiving one of the more dangerous holidays for dogs. Vets have been known to refer to the day after Thanksgiving as National Day of Canine Pancreatitis.

The real trouble is rarely caused by humans sharing their dinners with their canine friends (again, unless the dogs have specific issues with foods). Problems occur mainly when humans, lazy and full and tipsy after plenty of food and wine, leave the leftovers out where the dog can get to them. Labrador retrievers and beagles have been known to consume entire turkey carcasses; even less voracious eaters will still massively overindulge if given a chance.

The classic case that develops on National Day of Canine Pancreatitis proceeds like this. After dinner, the family adjourns to the living room to watch football. The dog sneaks into the dining room or the kitchen or the trash area and helps himself to a massive quantity of turkey — especially the delicious rich skin — and whatever else he can get his jaws on. The fat in the turkey skin overwhelms the dog’s pancreas, which produces the enzymes that digest said fat. The overwhelmed pancreas responds by releasing enzymes aberrantly, causing digestion of the organ itself. Vomiting, diarrhea, and pain occur. Severe cases can be life threatening or can lead to diabetes later.

What about people who keep the leftovers locked down but who want to share some of their feast (in moderation, of course) with their dogs? Here is the rundown on the common Thanksgiving foods that are (and aren’t) safe for dogs — or at least those dogs who don’t have any food allergies or intolerance.

Turkey: White meat turkey is generally among the safest things that can be fed to dogs. The dark meat is slightly richer and therefore less safe. Skin is a no-no in anything but the smallest quantities.

Stuffing: This tasty item usually contains onions and garlic. Onions and garlic are potentially toxic to dogs, but the good news is that it takes quite a lot of them to cause problems. The drippings in the stuffing also pose a pancreatitis risk. Some folks put raisins in their stuffing. Grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to some dogs and should never be fed to them. Long story short: A small quantity of raisin-free stuffing probably won’t harm most dogs.

Mashed Potatoes: Just thinking about the quantity of butter and sour cream that is put in mashed potatoes is scary.  Often garlic and onion are included, which are dangerous in large portions, but probably ok in a small serving.. If the potatoes are super rich, then it’s best not to feed them to the dog.

Green bean casserole: The creamy beans could theoretically cause pancreatitis if consumed in sufficient quantities, and the yummy canned onions on the top should be avoided. But again, a small quantity of the non-onioned part probably won’t cause damage.

Bread: Plain bread or rolls are generally no problem. Buttery garlic bread again poses a pancreatitis risk.

Cranberry sauce: Cranberries aren’t poisonous to dogs, but be cautious with the heavily-brandied variety because most dogs are sloppy drunks. As with potatoes, cranberries are okay for dogs, but what goes in the sauce might not be.

Gravy: The drippings and giblets are rich, but when consumed in small quantities gravy is not likely to hurt most dogs.

So there you have it. Most dogs can tolerate a bit of most Thanksgiving foods as long as they are consumed only in small quantities.

However, if you stumble out of the living room and discover that your dog has broken into the trash or consumed most of the leftovers, then you will need to monitor him for signs of gastrointestinal upset and panceatitis. Dogs who suffer from diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, or poor appetite later on, should see a vet. Those who don’t might be fine if fed a bland diet (which, ironically, can be made with boneless skinless white meat turkey or chicken mixed with rice) for a day or two. When in doubt, call your local vet or emergency clinic to determine whether action is necessary.

Warmest wishes for a happy Thanksgiving to all!


From Ernestine & Emmitt

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Emmitt and I are grateful for so much this Thanksgiving.  We wish you lots of doggy love and snuggles!

Later,  Ernestine


November 17, 2013

‘Tis Almost the Season


We are preparing an email for you that includes Crate Escapes’ holiday hours.  You will receive it mid-week. In the meantime,  here’s a heads up for Thanksgiving:

CEtoo, Crate Escapes Belmont and Charlestown will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.  On Wednesday, 11/27 and Friday, 11/29, hours are regular, 7am – 6:30pm.

Santadog is coming early to all 3 Crate Escapes! Holiday treats, collars, sweaters, trench coats, toys, etc! will be on display starting Friday, 11/29.  Great gifts for your poochs and friends.

I am sure you have figured it out; I am alpha in my home.  At 4pm every day, I gather my brothers and sister, we jump into our beds and watch Ellen.  In spite of all the alpha behaviors I have expressed, it is currently all about, ‘Be Kind to One Another’. Ellen says it every day at the end of her show.

This blog is about how we can help homeless dogs over the holiday season.  Bet you didn’t know jack russells can be mellow and empathetic!


Later, Ernestine

A Special Gift

With the holidays coming up– now is a great time to think of our canine friends, especially those who are homeless. Many of us want to help and mean to help, but we pause because we really want to ADOPT a rescue dog, which often is just not feasible.

We are grateful at Crate Escape, that we have been able to foster dogs for Last Hope K9 Rescue. Last Hope’s ongoing networking and adoption events result in the fosters usually being adopted within two weeks.  All rescues take on huge responsibilities to safely and legally get homeless dogs to foster/ forever homes.

The rescue volunteers on the ‘front lines’ are truly amazing. They have to be over-the-top’ committed, and be able to endure a ton of stress.  These strong, passionate people; choose which dogs they can ‘pull’ (rescue lingo) from shelters, decide to what extent their rescue can support a sick or injured dog, and take the responsibility to raise the money necessary to make the dogs adoptable  A large percentage of the rescue dogs available for adoption in NE are from the south, meaning finding foster homes down there, vets who are on board with the mission, hopefully reducing bills, and providing safe transportation north.

Recently the campaign to raise money for dogs who are victims of typhoon Haiyan has been everywhere. It is a constant struggle for us dog lovers, to decide what and whom to support.  Just efforts towards homeless dogs in the USA?  In MA?  For a specific rescue or shelter?

Along with the urgent requests for immediate help, there are an many options to volunteer locally and more simply. Suggestions can often be found on your favorite rescue org. or shelter’s website under ‘Volunteer’ or ‘Donate’ (time, not necessarily money!)  Here are some examples:

1. Donate your time
Volunteering for a shelter is one of the most impactful ways to get involved. Many shelters need help with cleaning and caring for the animals, and keeping the facility in good condition. Call your local shelter to see if it needs extra volunteers and learn more about volunteering with shelters and rescue groups.

2.  Donate your skills
Do you have a special talent or hobby like photography or creating video? Photographing shelter pets or highlighting one in an adoptable pet video for his Petfinder profile can bring attention to a pet who’s often overlooked. A great photo on a pet’s Petfinder profile will make him more likely to catch an adopter’s eye and bring her into the shelter. Get some tips for how to get great shelter-pet photos, then donate your skills to help a pet find a home.

3. Donate your pets’ gently-used and old items (Our Chews a Cause program!)
Shelters can always use some extra supplies. Contact your local shelter or rescue group to see if it has a wish list of items it needs, just be sure to clean any supplies before you donate them. Often a shelter’s wish list will include:

** Water and food bowls
**Leashes and collars
**Brushes/grooming tools
**Pet beds

4. Great Idea!! Getting Married??
Getting married or throwing a big party? I bet you don’t need those fancy china plates or the glass vase that’ll just sit in a cabinet collecting dust. Instead, have your shelter set up a registry page so guests can donate to the shelter rather than purchasing a customary wedding gift. It’s a rewarding experience for you, the shelter and your guests and it’s a great way to remember the meaning of your wedding! Read about two couples who set up donation registries on our blog.

5. Donate household items
Pet supplies aren’t the only supplies shelters need. Some other things that come in handy for shelters include:
** Cleaning supplies (call your shelter and ask what cleaning supplies it uses/needs)
** Old newspapers
** Paper towel and toilet paper rolls
** Old towels and blankets
** Hand sanitizer
** Office supplies

7. Donate pet food and litter
Shelters and rescue groups go through a lot of pet food and cat litter every day. You can buy pet food in bulk at wholesale stores and donate:

** Wet dog/cat food
** Dry dog/cat food
** Clumping cat litter
** Non-clay cat litter (for kittens and post-op cats)
** Dog/cat treats

8. Volunteer at rescue organization’s adoption events. Contact a local rescue.

9. Drive rescue dogs to new homes, vets and adoption events. Check with your favorite rescue.

It all makes a difference. The facts that you follow Crate Escape and read the blog indicates that you are a special dog person. Thanks for your support!

November 2, 2013

Halloween Celebration and Slow Bowls- Healthy Eating,

som|dog’s SPOOKTACULAR Halloween Party at Crate Escape Charlestown

 somdoghalloweenfixed eddie at somdog somdogevent


A wonderful time was had by all!  Dogs playing in our spacious, customized daycare, and som|dog members catching up and planning future events to make the greater Somerville area (Charlestown!) as dog friendly as possible!

Slow Feeder Bowls

Break Fast Bowls

‘Slow feeders’ are dog bowls with built in mazes and blocked spaces, making it a challenge, or a game for your dog to eat his meals. Crate has been carrying them since they first came out. Recently there are some new companies making these bowls so we now have a selection.

Many dogs are  serious food inhalers. This can lead not only to overeating, and overweight dogs, but also some serious medical conditions including repeated regurgitation and bloat.

Bloat is serious!  Several of our Crate Escape dogs have had surgeries in the last 6 months. Luckily, it was caught early and they all survived.

When bloat occurs, the dog’s stomach fills with air, fluid and/or food. The enlarged stomach puts pressure on other organs, can cause difficulty breathing, and eventually may decrease blood supply to a dog’s vital organs.

People often use the word “bloat” to refer to a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary care known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), gastric torsion and twisted stomach. This condition can cause rapid clinical signs and death in several hours. Even with immediate treatment, approximately 25% to 40% of dogs die from this medical emergency.

One of the companies who sells slow bowls did a test with a group of dogs and their caretakers. It was easily determined that the bowls actually do what they are supposed to do.  The general consensus is that it seriously slowed down the mealtime of all the dogs who used it.  Here is one man’s experience: “Loki is a serious inhaler of food.  I let him use a normal bowl once and he inhaled his 2/3c of food in about 10-15 seconds (including time where he coughed and choked on the kibble he sucked up).  He sort of does this pelican move where he will shove as much kibble in his mouth with one bite and then try to swallow it–with or without chewing. I started out giving Loki the ‘flower’.  I put his normal 2/3c kibble in the feeder, making sure to spread it all around so it was all spread out, and then put it on the floor for him.  I let him eat and it was a huge difference, after a minute or two of him starting, I grabbed my camera and filmed the duration of his meal.  I filmed for over 5 minutes 30 seconds before he got the last of the kibble, which means it probably took him between 6 and 7 minutes to eat the same amount of food that would normally take him about 10-15 seconds.”


  • A rubber bottom which can be used on hard wood, carpeting, rugs, and ceramic tile flooring and it doesn’t slide around.
  • Bowls are  top-rack dishwasher safe; so putting raw meat in the feeders is not a health hazard. Thawed out ground meat and canned food work just fine.
  • Many dogs seem to really enjoy eating out of the bowls
  • VERY easy to “fill”, just pour the kibble in the feeder


Great feedback. The slow bowls promote natural, healthy eating habits. By requiring dogs to forage through the maze-like designs to acquire their meals, slow bowls prolong feeding time thereby reducing the risk for bloat, regurgitation, and canine obesity.


Hilda Speaks (through Bradley)

From Ernie:  This week Hilda, my adopted sister wants to talk about HER slow bowl.

Translated by Bradley Hastings:  ” Hilda, our bull mastiff, is really slowing down her eating habits since she began using this product. She went from eating her meal in 30 seconds to now six minutes to complete her meals all due to these unique bowls.”



Later,  Ernestine, Bradley & Hilda

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